Accounting and Auditing Highlights July 28-August 4, 2017


The Financial Accounting Standards Board

July 28: Advocates for blockchain technology and the digital currencies it supports told Bloomberg BNA those databases can't meet their potential in U.S. capital markets unless the U.S. standard setter fashions accounting rules specifically for them.

“The FASB staff plans to perform pre-agenda research about accounting for digital currency—identified in the Digital Chamber of Commerce's agenda request—and will discuss it with the Board at a public board meeting,” John Pappas, senior manager, media relations and constituent communications at FASB told Bloomberg BNA. Click here to see the full story. 

August 1: Top managers at oil and gas companies and consumer and industrial product makers lead the executives worried they won't be ready to meet the deadline for new lease accounting rules, according to a recent Deloitte’s survey. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

August 2: Life insurance companies would more frequently update assumptions used to measure the liability for future policy benefits of nonparticipating traditional and limited-payment contracts under rules FASB is developing. Companies would be required to remeasure the liability when a change in cash flows is identified, FASB agreed in a board meeting, as part of ongoing redeliberations of potential changes to long-duration insurance contracts. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

FASB also voted to propose what the board's chairman, Russell Golden, called “grandfathering” of existing land easements so the lease accounting rules, ASC 842, won't apply. Oil, gas, and other pipeline operators would be exempted from new lease accounting rules that would require time-consuming record searches into vintage land easements for the conduits. Click here to see the full story(Subscription required).

August 3: FASB proposed clarifications on whether certain funds received and made primarily by not-for-profits should be reported as contributions or exchanges. Contributions are a significant source of revenue for nonprofit organizations, which include universities, museums, charities, and other operations. Clarity would help organizations determine whether to apply the new revenue standard, ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, or other accounting rules. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

August 3: Analysts and accountants are predicting that new derivatives and hedge accounting rules will lead to new business for the largest U.S. financial institutions—such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.—and, eventually, higher earnings.

“This will lower earnings volatility,” increase stock price-to-earnings multiples, “and also improve capital efficiency,” according to Morgan Stanley analysts.

Banks have been contacting FASB to learn when the board will issue the new standard covering derivatives and risk-cutting hedging activities, board officials have told Bloomberg BNA. Financial institutions hope to reflect the new, streamlined—and more business-friendly—accounting in their third-quarter reports. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required). FASB hopes to issue the standard in late August, Sue Cosper, FASB technical director said in a videotaped interview with Bloomberg BNA. Watch Cosper's interview here.

International Developments

July 28: The U.K. accounting regulator wants companies to include in their financial reports information about any significant impacts that the country's departure from the European Union could produce.

“When Brexit risks are material, we encourage companies to disclose these as part of their principal risks and uncertainties in the strategic report,” the U.K. Financial Reporting Council (FRC) told Bloomberg BNA. Click here to see the full story.

July 28: The U.K. government must act to safeguard the nation's accounting and auditing quality as part of negotiations on its divorce from the European Union, the nation's financial-reporting authority told Bloomberg BNA.

The U.K. currently is negotiating the terms of its final break with the EU, slated for March 2019, and the country's departure means that U.K. accounting and auditing policies no longer will be established by the EU and transposed into U.K. law. Though FRC hasn't issued a formal position paper, the council said it wants to ensure that U.K. audit quality doesn't suffer as a result of the negotiations. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

August 1: Diageo Plc, the world's largest distiller, will pay its 107 million pound ($140 million) ‘Google tax’ charge to the U.K.’s tax authority next month, in the latest development on the controversial penalty. ‘Google tax’ refers to anti-avoidance provisions that have been passed in several jurisdictions dealing with profits or royalties that have been diverted to other jurisdictions with lower or nil rates. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).


Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

August 2: The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced that it censured and imposed a $1 million civil penalty against PwC for violations in its examination and audit of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated's compliance with the SEC's Customer Protection Rule in fiscal year 2014.

Composed and Compiled by Xing Gao, Accounting Policy and Practice reporter and editor.

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